The death penalty remains an option for punishment in the case of a former Arizona inmate accused of killing a couple in New Mexico.

The death penalty remains an option for punishment in the case of a former Arizona inmate accused of killing a couple in New Mexico.

John McCluskey is charged with carjacking and murder in the deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla. Their remains were found with their burned-out camping trailer on an eastern New Mexico ranch.

A federal judge this month rejected McCluskey's arguments that the death penalty amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. A motion to exclude the testimony of informants and witnesses for the prosecution also was denied.

McCluskey was one of three people who authorities say escaped from a medium-security prison near Kingman, Ariz., in July 2010 and went on a multi-state crime spree.

He's appealing his conviction in Arizona on escape and other charges.